SEATTLE, Wash. Former NASCAR driver Chad Little this week was awarded the prestigious Washington State University Alumni Association Alumni Achievement Award. The highest honor bestowed by the WSUAA, the award recognizes Little for his outstanding contributions to worldwide motorsports and his dedication to community service. Jud Preece, senior associate director of the WSUAA, made the presentation.
Little earned a marketing degree from WSU’s College of Business in 1985 before graduating from Gonzaga University with a law degree in 1988. While at WSU, he worked at the Compton Union Building and was active in the College of Business marketing club, Student Alumni Ambassadors, ASWSU student government, and Delta Upsilon Fraternity.
A native of Spokane, Little developed an interest in racing as he watched his father compete across the Northwest in the 60s and 70s. In 1981, he won a local late-model title, and in 1986, he made his NASCAR Cup series debut at Riverside International Raceway in California. Little’s early success on the NASCAR West circuit included top rookie honors in 1986 and a championship in 1987, and helped him make it to what was then the Winston Cup in 1989.
Over the next 13 years, Little found success in both the Cup and Grand National series. During his breakout season in 1995 he won six races on the circuit, posting wins at Daytona, Talladega, and Charlotte and finishing second overall in the season standings. In 1996, he was voted the series “most popular “driver by NASCAR fans across the country. Soon afterward he returned to the Winston Cup circuit and had his best finish, second place at Texas, in 1998. He retired from driving in 2002 after 351 career races. After a stint as a Fox Sports TV analyst on “NASCAR This Morning,” Little headed to Mexico to work on expanding stockcar racing and the NASCAR brand. He currently serves as director of NASCAR’s Elite touring series in Mexico and director of NASCAR’s Whelen Open-wheel series.
Little has served on the Board of Directors of Speedway Children’s Charities in Charlotte and as Chairman of the Vanessa Behan Crisis Clinic in Spokane. He also served as a spokesman for Spokane’s Hoopfest and the General Mills Box Tops for Education program. Little is a WSUAA Life Member and lives near Charlotte, N.C., with his wife Donna, son Jesse, and daughter Haley.
In the history of WSU, it is estimated that more than 250,000 alumni attended the University. Little is only the 496th recipient of the Alumni Achievement Award.
Christina Parrish Rulffes, Assistant Director of Alumni Engagement, 509-335-2586, firstname.lastname@example.org